• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Before You Were Mine by Carol Ann Duffy is an affectionate poem, essentially about how a daughter imagines her mothers carefree teenage years,

Extracts from this document...


'Before You Were Mine' by Carol Ann Duffy is an affectionate poem, essentially about how a daughter imagines her mother's carefree teenage years, a decade before her daughter, the poet, was born. Her strong relationship with her mother is evident in the process. Without having really known her mother in her youth, she still misses her youthful nature. The poet regrets not having seen this facet of her mother's personality and somewhere along the way she knows that her birth is the reason for this. The title itself gives the first impression that the poem is dedicated to a lover and it is only when you read the third stanza that you can be sure that it is an ode from a daughter to her mother. The words 'Before You Were Mine' shows possessiveness, protectiveness, closeness and strong love. The title gives a good sense of the unique and possessive relationship of that of a mother and daughter. The title essentially means, 'before I was born' but the use of the words 'you' and 'mine' give it a very deep and intimate feel. The accurate visual description of the first stanza gives us a sense that poet may be looking at an old photograph of her mother and her friends laughing on a pavement. The description primarily serves to highlight the fun and frolic of her mother's glamorous youth. ...read more.


The clattering again refers to her red high-heeled shoes that symbolize her young days. 'I see you, clear as scent' is a deliberate mixing of the sense called synaethesia to show how a familiar smell can trigger a vivid recollection. The poet again jumps back to the imaginary past where her mother is probably kissing her lover under a lit up tree. She then affectionately chides her mother, 'and whose small bites on your neck, sweetheart?' It is somewhat of a reversal of roles where the daughter is protective and chides her mother and refers to her as 'sweetheart' as she imagines the love bites on her mother's neck. The fourth and final stanza begins with another incident in the daughter's childhood, where her mother would teach her the 'Cha cha cha' on the way back from Church, suggesting that even though there may not be any occasion for her to dance this sensual Cuban dance, she still remembers it. The line, 'Stamping stars on the wrong pavement' has many hidden meanings. 'Stamping' refers to her mother's sensible shoes and is a direct contrast to the 'clattering' of her high-heeled party shoes. It impresses the idea that motherhood has caused many physical and mental changes in her. The 'wrong pavement' suggests that looking at the photograph, the daughter feel that her mother's rightful place was in a ballroom or maybe even in Hollywood (reference to the stars on the pavement in Hollywood). ...read more.


of the universe of her mother and that she had a life and that too a perfectly happy one before the birth of her child. Duffy celebrates the enchantingly beautiful youth of her mother. She glorifies her spirited nature and regrets that she herself is the reason that her mother has had to limit and change herself. Duffy laments not knowing her mother when she was a teenager and having snatched away her hopes and dreams. The poem is refreshing in the way a daughter enthuses over her mother's past and ends up understanding her better, having realized that her mother was just like her in her teens as well. Like the daughter, the mother too was full of life, hopes and dreams. Very often when we see a mother, we don't tend to go beyond her husband and children or at most her work or hobbies. Nobody tries to find out about her identity beyond her domestic one, the identity that was suppressed when she was confined to a new home and a new life. Carol Ann Duffy has done just that. She asks us to look at women, just as women. Not just as wives, not just as mothers but to search beyond that and recognize the sacrifice that they have made as individuals to fulfill those domestic roles. Page 1/5 English Language & Literature SL Written Task 1 Sanjana Purker 03/03/12 Word Count : 1762 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Carol Ann Duffy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Carol Ann Duffy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How Does Carol Ann Duffy Present The Theme Of Being Misplaced In The Dolphins(TM) ...

    3 star(s)

    The pool in which they stay will not expand its depths for the dolphins to cover new ground, and the line also metaphorically suggests that their dreams of independence are over in these shallow depths.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How do poets create the illusion of the speaking voice? Write about Carol Ann ...

    3 star(s)

    This gives us the impression that this speaker wants to fit in with the other children at school, so does not give people who are from a different nationality a chance, or the respect they deserve. He tells us of his plans to emigrate, giving the impression that he wants to escape.

  1. Critical Analysis of "Before You Were Mine" by Carol Ann Duffy.

    The poet achieves this by reminding us that ten years after the photo was taken, the happy, bold teenager became a mother to the poet. The most notable effect the poet uses in the poem are the short length lines, "tommorows" (line 8)

  2. Free essay

    Shooting Stars

    In the first verse, there is a lack of punctuation, "Rebecca Rachel Ruth Aaron Emmanuel David" this shows that the number of victims is endless, the people are also grouped together, but by giving the people names, it makes the situation more realistic and shows that it was a real event.

  1. "In Mrs. Tilscher's Class" by Carol Ann Duffy deals with one central theme. ...

    The child poet is even able to link this image full of senses to the main theme of growing up. The act of the girl carefully shaving the pencil, symbolises how she is shaving or peeling off her childhood as she makes the transition into adulthood.

  2. Before you were mine by Carol Ann Duffy

    Also, Duffy mixes up her senses when she says 'see as clear as scent' because she uses the description of one scent to describe her feelings for another different scent. This is called synaesthesia, and it emphasizes with her mixing up of tenses as well as senses.

  1. Analysis of 'Before You Were Mine'

    shoes, relics?? The noun ?relics? gives veneration for the past her mother has experiences. A relic is usually a religious and ancient article that is worshiped and how long Duffy?s mother?s life before she was born must feel like to her.

  2. Light can take on many different forms, some more prominent than others. This concept ...

    Light can be either artificial (neon) or natural (the moon). Light can also be thoughtless as the personified headlights of a car because it is quick or as thoughtful as a moment of seeing your loved one because it ?pierces? your heart and stays there for a while.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work